Caring for Others - Helpful Tips
It is estimated that 50 million* caregivers each year are providing care to an adult family member or friend. Whether you are new Caregiver or an experienced Caregiver, helping to manage incontinence may seem overwhelming. Here are a few helpful hints in managing incontinence for a friend or loved one.
Discuss Incontinence with Healthcare Provider
Incontinence is a common condition and one that should be discussed with a Healthcare Provider. The Healthcare Provider will most likely discuss symptoms, possibly order more tests or refer them to a Specialist. After a diagnosis is made, treatment options will probably be provided and discussed. These treatment options may include Kegel exercises, diet changes, medications, bladder retraining, environmental changes, surgery or absorbent products.
Make a Few Changes Around the House
- Having difficulty getting out of a chair/bed may put pressure on the bladder. Provide sturdy arms or rails to help the person get out of the chair/bed without straining. Lift chairs are also available to help standing with little effort.
- Create a clear path to the bathroom. Remove any clutter, furniture or rugs that may be an obstacle.
- There should also be proper lighting with night lights or glow-in-the-dark tape to light the way to the bathroom at night.
Keep a Schedule
- Keep a written record for trips to the bathroom. Write down each time that the individual goes to the bathroom and the amount they urinated (small, medium or large amount). This will enable the individual to develop a pattern and be able to go to the bathroom according to their schedule needs. You will also now have a “journal” to show the individual's Health Care Provider.
- A good start is to make a trip to the toilet every 2 hours or upon rising in the morning, before meals or an activity. Over a few weeks, gradually increase the time between bathroom trips. Be sure to give the person enough time to completely empty the bladder.
- If there is an accident, remove wet clothes and wash immediately, or if you cannot wash the clothing place the clothing in a sealed bag. These actions will help to reduce odor.
Source: *NAFC 01/08